- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 15, 2011

This letter serves as a rebuttal to Deborah Simmons‘ Friday column “Statehood activists’ silly games make their cause laughable” (Culture). When Miss Simmons called the District’s fight for democracy a “silly waste of time,” “gimmickry” and “a fat chance,” she insulted the nearly 600,000 Washingtonians who are denied voting rights.

I appreciate that the author outlined some of the more creative and radical approaches that advocates are using to raise awareness about injustice in the District. Renaming Pennsylvania Avenue and adding a tag line to gateway signs into the nation’s capital will help educate Americans on the denial of voting representation in the home of American democracy.

Advocates grabbed the attention of Congress this week during a protest. In January, D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray, congressional delegates and members of the city council united to declare their commitment to the issue.

Mr. Gray recently told activists, “It is time for the people of the District of Columbia to stand up, lie down, box, fight, whatever the case may be, because Frederick Douglass said it best: ‘Power concedes nothing without a struggle.’ ” In addition, more than 800 Americans from across the country have signed D.C. Vote’s demand democracy petition. The momentum continues to build.


Without offering a viable alternative, Miss Simmons dismisses all efforts, citing the argument that statehood would make it too difficult to determine a new postal abbreviation for the District. Would she argue that black Americans and women should never have been allowed to vote because it would be too difficult to register so many new voters? She is missing out on the D.C. voting movement and its progress forward.

SARAH POKEMPNER

Washington